Quality of life in lung cancer patients: as an important prognostic factor

Lung Cancer. 2001 Feb-Mar;31(2-3):233-40. doi: 10.1016/s0169-5002(00)00179-3.


Given that lung cancer is one of the common cancers world-wide, the implications of focusing on quality of life as well as survival require to be understood. We have carried out a study of the relationship between survival and quality of life in patients with lung cancer comparing patients those who lived with those who died within 3 months. The design of the study allowed every patient in a defined geographical area with a potential diagnosis of lung cancer to be studied from first outpatient consultation till after a definitive treatment has been given. Quality of life was measured using three standard questionnaires: the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP), the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) and its lung cancer supplementary questionnaire (QLQ-LC13) in addition to a study specific questionnaire collecting data on demographic, social, clinical and performance status. The contribution of quality of life in relation to survival adjusted for known prognostic factors was determined using Cox's proportional hazard model. In all 129 lung cancer patients were interviewed, and 96 patients were alive at 3-months follow-up. Only 90 of 96 patients alive at 3-months follow-up were assessable. Descriptive analyses showed that those who were dead had more perceived health problems, greater level of symptoms and significant lower physical and role functioning and global quality of life at presentation. On the other hand, univariate analyses showed that patients' aggregate scores on the NHP, the functioning scores, and global quality of life scores alone were significant predictors of survival (P<0.03, P<0.04, P<0.04, respectively ). The multivariate analyses showed that pre-diagnosis global quality of life was the most significant predictor of the length of survival even after adjusting for known prognostic factors (age, P<0.04; extent of disease, P<0.03; global quality of life, P<0.02), while performance status, sex and weight loss were not. This study confirmed that pre-diagnosis quality of life was a significant predictor of survival. Indeed, pre-diagnosis quality of life should be considered as a clinical status which has to be established by physicians before treatment starts as it is such an important predictor of survival.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / pathology*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survival Analysis